Don't forget your briefs Vicar!
Ooh err missus! Or not really. One of the challenges of rendering the thoughts of others as written work is ensuring that you know what it is they are trying to achieve. Some clients have a very clear idea of what they want, others need to be guided and have ideas drawn out of them.
This process becomes more difficult with every additional link in the chain between writer and client and this is where briefs become incredibly valuable. Any writer worth their salt will be able to produce something on the vaguest of premises, what they won't be able to do is to read the mind of the client, and that can waste a lot of time and effort as the work goes back and forth because it's not right, really not right or completely wrong in every respect.
If you are commissioning written work, spend a little time thinking about what you want, what you are trying to achieve, who the target of the work is, and make some short notes. A writer will be looking for the following:
What is required?
What is the aim of the work? Informative? Selling? A call to action?
Who is the target audience?
What tone is required? Formal or relaxed? Technical or amusingly informative?
What are timescales?
References. If you have seen an article or a blog that is close to what you want, include a link. The writer will be able to get a far clearer idea of what you want and will be better able to deliver it quickly and efficiently.
Other information such as length, links (for online work) references etc are useful.
You can give too much information, but most writers would prefer that every day of the week. A decent brief means that pertinent questions can be asked before time has been committed to the project, avoiding costly re-writes and wasted hours.
Taking the time to consider and write a brief will save you both time and money and your writers will love you for it!